Eminem’s Cypher is a Demonstration of How Much Racism Still Exists

This is going to be a short post because I think the point is a pretty clear one. Let me start by saying, though, that I’m am not criticizing Eminem’s cypher. In fact, I rather enjoyed it. I thought it was powerful, and some of the bars were pretty wicked.

The great tragedy about Eminem’s cypher is that it is a clear indication that a single white man’s voice will continue to be leader than the collective voices of black Americans across the nation. For decades, black rappers have rapped about political issues. They’ve criticized presidents and other politicians. They’ve continued to write passionately about the challenges of racism, disenfranchisement, and police brutality. The music and lyrics have been an outpouring of the emotions of a population that has long suffered overt and covert forms of oppression.

This rap, by black artists, has largely been met with derisive resistance. Despite the popularity of certain artists, there has been a resistance and criticism of their work in equal measure. Despite all this noise, there has been stark attention paid to the political relevance of rap produced by black artists.

Eminem does one political rap, though, and it’s everywhere. I’m glad he did it; I’m glad it was loud and widely publicized. But let’s not forget that it still took a white man to make black voices heard, while the black voices stood silently in the background.

Having a Partner Who Supports Your Goals, Even When You Don’t

As I live my life, I keep learning and growing. I continue to evolve my understanding even in those areas in which I consider myself an expert. My relationships are one such thing. Recently, I became consciously aware of a new dimension of my marriage that has always previously existed, but I never really noticed. I wanted to share it all with you and explain the value that it adds to your life.

Let’s start with how I came to this realization. Three weeks ago, I had a bit of a scare where I felt as if I was having a heart attack. And I don’t mean that I thought I might be having a heart attack. I was certain this was a cardiac event. Chest pain, numbness in my left arm, jaw pain, the whole deal. So I went to the ER, and they said I was totally fine, and my heart was completely healthy.

The other thing they told me is that severe acid reflux can cause heart attack – like symptoms. I’ve had acid reflux for a while, but I’ve never had a fake heart attack. Of course, one of the best ways to address this type of thing is to eat better and lose some weight. I’ve gained about 20 pounds in the past year, so I decided to get on a keto diet to lose some weight. I’ve lost 15 pounds so far, but I don’t know that I would have made this kind of progress without my wife. Let me explain.

Dieting, as any of you who may have tried it might know, is difficult. It requires a lot of willpower and discipline. Over the past three weeks that I’ve been doing this, I have had a number of different moments of weakness in which I’ve seriously wanted to break my diet. At those times, my wife has refused to allow me my indulgences. She does the grocery shopping for the house, so she makes sure we have a full stock of keto – friendly foods, and she constantly nags me about eating properly according to my diet. She has increased her frequency of cooking me breakfast while we’re both home as well.

Until just yesterday, I had attributed her nagging to just that…nagging. But, it’s actually so much more than that. You see, my wife knows and understands me. She knows my goals, and she understands what I want to accomplish. She decides, whether consciously or not, that she has to support these goals. The “so much more” part, though, happens when she decides to support my goals even when I don’t want to strive toward them myself. She recognizes that my goals don’t disappear just because I’m feeling lazy or indulgent. And that recognition is infinitely valuable.

It’s so much easier for us to be accountable to other people than it is to be accountable to ourselves. You can easily convince yourself to cheat or forego something you should do, but it’s far more difficult to do the same with someone else, especially a nagging wife. And while it’s really easy for her to simply say, “Well, if you’re not going to put in the effort, then I won’t support you,” she doesn’t do that. It is a comfort to know that when I run out of willpower, I have another reserve in my partner to draw upon. Although I just recently became aware of this through my dieting, I’ve realized that she does this in all aspects of our life. If I have tasks to complete for any of my side projects, she’ll nag me to finish them. If I tell her I need to be somewhere, she’ll make sure I’m up on time even if I want to sleep in.

I’ve also recognized that I do the same for her, and I’ve been doing it unconsciously. When my wife is feeling lazy, I nag her to get her stuff done. When she wants to sleep in, I get her up to do what she needs to do. In this way, we strive to become the other person. My success is her success, and vice versa. That type of partnership is a rare thing because it indicates a much deeper level of commitment than simply supporting the other person with words of encouragement. It is an unconscious recognition that we are one.

This is a light bulb moment. Find yourself a partner that you can share the same sort of connection with, and your life will become infinitely easier and richer.

30 Poems in 30 Days #28 and #29 – Almost There

The Horizon

Darkness settles
The night extends its cold tendrils
On the shadowed horizon

Light springs
Each day’s new beckoning
On the lighted horizon

All things begin
All things end
Upon that infinite horizon

Pulsing

Thump thump
Goes the throb
Neverending
Forgetting to stop

Thump thump
Begins the day
Thump thump
When I hit the hay

An endless chatter
The thundering rattle

Between my ears
Behind my eyes
It comes near
I hear their cries

Thump thump
The blood rushes
A thimble fills

30 Poems in 30 Days #23, 24, 25, 26, 27 – Catching Up

Tired

You know that feeling?
Of chains?
Shackles of cold steels
Around your ankles, wrists

Knowing that you put them there
That you welcomed their embrace
Is the greatest tragedy

Losing Grip

Reality is fickle
The air wavers
With slightest heat
Temptations rising
Into the beckoning sun

People stare as they roast
In the daylight
Beneath dying stars
Fists clench
Sparks fly

Thunderstruck

It’s a strange word, no?
How can you be struck by thunder
Yet
For those of us who have felt it’s warmth
There is no return

Lover’s Quarrel

No screaming
Nothing broken but feelings and hearts
No cursing
Nothing said but the most biting words

There is no greater responsibility
Than knowledge of someone else
No greater fragility
Than another’s heart in your hands

Engulfed in your own heat
The temptation to squeeze
To crush
Is almost irresistible

Be warned
Against yourself
Be wary
Of your own demons

The Sands

Mesmerizing
They shift ceaselessly
Under balmy winds
Hiding entire worlds
Beneath their ever changing faces

Scorpions of history
Lurk in the depths
Ready to strike
At unwary travelers

Be not afraid
Of what you do not know
For the sands
Eventually make all into the unknown

You too
Shall one day be buried
Under the weight
Of feather light grains

Resolved: The United States should require universal background checks for all gun sales and transfer of ownership.

Don’t settle for being a good debater. You can be great. Click here to visit my Debate Academy to get personal coaching, and more.

Resolved: The United States should require universal background checks for all gun sales and transfer of ownership.

I was excited after reviewing the LD topic, but this one is unfortunately a disappointment. It’s heavily weighted toward the pro, and evidence against universal background checks is going to be difficult to find. But, let’s see what we can do.

Definitions

United States – In this case, this refers to the U.S. government. The point of this is a) to restrict the debate within the borders of the U.S. and b) to indicate that this requirement would be enacted federally.

Require – Don’t make this more than it is. How does the government require anything? By punishing you for not doing yet, or not allowing you to get what you want. To avoid a stupid debate, you can reasonably assume that the resolution is saying a person will need to pass a universal background check before being allowed to purchase or acquire a firearm.

Universal background check – A universal background check is a check that goes through the NICS system. Basically, the FBI maintains a database of people it has deemed ineligible to purchase firearms and explosives. The background check references a potential buyer against that database to determine if they’re allowed to buy a firearm or not. Currently, only licensed firearm dealers are required to perform such a background check. The resolution is asking if this should be extended to all transactions.

Should – This is the most important word in the resolution. Your framework has to explain how we determine what a government, particularly the U.S. government, should do. Then, you have to extend that to explain why that means the U.S. should require universal background checks.

Case Positions

Pro

1. Security – A government’s primary responsibility is to the security of its own people. Some would even argue that is a government’s only responsibility. Experts generally agree that universal background checks will reduce gun violence and improve overall safety. It’s clear that these background checks should be required to improve the overall safety of the U.S. population.

2. Consent of the People – Governments, particularly democratic ones like the United States, determine their actions through the will of the people. Their is a substantial body of evidence to suggest that the American people favor universal background checks for all firearm transactions.

Con

1. Second Amendment – Such background checks would be too severe of a hindrance to peoples’ right to own firearms. The FBI registry regularly returns false positives and would prevent too many people form freely exercising their rights. It can also be argued that such a requirement is beyond the government’s rights. The Libertarian position would contend that enacting such restrictions stretches the government’s regulatory powers too far.

2. Impossibility of Implementation – This is more of a kritik type position, but one could argue that the solution proposed in the resolution is impossible to implement in the United Sates. It is just not feasible for the government to regulate all gun transactions that occur within U.S. borders, and if something is impossible to do, it should not be done.

That’s it; I hope that helps get you started. Feel free to post questions and comments below, and visit the Academy if you’re interested in personal private coaching!

Resolved: Wealthy nations have an obligation to provide development assistance to other nations.

Don’t settle for being a good debater. You can be great. Click here to visit my Debate Academy to get personal coaching, and more.

Resolved: Wealthy nations have an obligation to provide development assistance to other nations.

Resolved: Wealthy nations have an obligation to provide development assistance to other nations.

This is a very relevant topic in today’s political climate. It’s an interesting one, and should lend itself to some good debates. Hopefully students don’t try to turn it into a definition debate or take abusive positions focused strictly on the meaning of development assistance. Regardless, let’s get into it!

Definitions

Wealthy nations – This is a relative term. Wealthy nations can also be translated in the context of the resolution to mean “wealthier nations.” The intent is basically to make a delineation between countries that can provide assistance, and countries that need assistance.

Development assistance – This is basically foreign aid designed to help a nation develop a particular part of its society or government. It can come in many forms including but not limited to money, resources, and personnel. The thing to focus on here is that the assistance is designed to help the development of the country, so it is distinct from things like humanitarian aid or military assistance during armed conflict.

Obligation – What’s interesting here is that the resolution doesn’t state “moral” obligation. So, your case must explain how nations determine what obligations they have, period. This can include legal obligations, moral obligations, or other obligations you can think of. The resolution isn’t limited to the realm of moral theory this time.

Frameworks/Case Positions

Affirmative

1. Categorical Imperative – The categorical imperative, all three maxims, work pretty well to argue for this resolution. It is easy to conceive of a world where every wealthy provides assistance as a desirable one to live in. Not only that, the act of providing such assistance can reasonably be thought of as an action which strives toward a number of different ends in the kingdom of ends. This is a strong framework for the affirmative of this resolution. Read more about the categorical imperative on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy here.

2. Veil of Ignorance/Original Position – Everyone has defining characteristics which impart biases onto their political and moral reasoning. Ideally, if we could, we should develop social justice policies without these biases because that will yield the most objectively reasonable outcome. This state of deliberation, in which actors are free from the influence of any personal bias, was dubbed by John Rawls as the original position. One could contend that, when evaluated from the original position, it is easy to see that wealthy nations have an obligation to provide development assistance to others. After all, you could wake up tomorrow and be a member of one of those “other nations.” Read more about Rawls’s original position here.

3. Virtue Ethics – Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean would establish providing assistance as the proper course of action between the two extremes of doing nothing and taking over/doing everything. It is the moderate approach to helping other nations develop, and as such, is the virtuous course of action. Read more about Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean here.

Negative

1. Social Contract Theory – The social contract, and government, are formed primarily to protect a nation’s own citizens. Therefore, any government primary obligation is to its own people. One could argue that no government in the world, however wealthy, has sufficiently met this obligation. Even in the United States, we have yet to have proper due process of law and equal protections for minorities. Providing assistance to other nations must come at a price; the money has to come from somewhere, and that is money that could be used to solve domestic issues. The opportunity cost of providing assistance for any nation is too high. Read more about contractarianism here.

2. International Law – The only obligations that exist between nations are legal ones. There is no global social contract as citizens have not formed or consented to a global government. Nowhere in international law does it specify an obligation for wealthier nations to provide development assistance, and as such, an obligation like that cannot exist. It should be noted that this position will require a clear distinction to be made between humanitarian aid and development assistance because international law is rife with obligations for humanitarian aid.

3. Utilitarianism – For any action to be good, and therefore reasonably be considered obligatory, it must provide the most good for the greatest number of people. Often, development assistance does not do that. There is evidence to suggest that it can actually harm the countries receiving the aid. Often, such countries are ruled by destructive regimes which do not actually direct the assistance towards its intended goals, and instead use it to carry out their own agendas. Additionally, this assistance means that there is less available for the wealthy nation’s own citizens.

That’s it, hope it helps you get started. Feel free to post comments and questions below, and check out the Academy if you want personal private coaching!